Thu, May 03, 2012 - Page 11 News List

New Macau casino has been approved, Steve Wynn says

AFP, HONG KONG

US gaming mogul Steve Wynn said yesterday that his Macau business had received approval to build a new casino in the southern Chinese city, the world’s biggest gaming hub.

Construction could now begin at the 21 hectare site on Macau’s Cotai Strip, he said in a statement on US-based Wynn Resorts’ Web site.

“The official transfer of real estate in Cotai makes possible the commencement of the construction phase of what will be the single most important project in the history of Wynn Resorts,” Wynn said.

No other details were provided, but local unit Wynn Macau has said previously the new casino could open as early as next year and that the property would include a hotel and about 450 gambling tables.

Wynn Macau is one of six firms licensed to operate casinos in Macau, which was handed back to Beijing in 1999 and remains the only Chinese city where casino gambling is allowed.

The city’s no-frills gaming scene was monopolized by 89-year-old tycoon Stanley Ho (何鴻燊) for decades, until it opened to foreign competition in 2002, taking on all the glitz and kitschy glamor of Las Vegas.

It has now leapfrogged the US city to become the world’s most lucrative casino market, with gambling revenues hitting a record US$33.47 billion last year.

Takings rose 22 percent to 25 billion patacas (US$3.13 billion) last month from a year earlier, despite a slowdown in China’s economy, official figures showed yesterday, but analysts expect the pace of revenue growth to ease this year compared with the record highs of last year.

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